How much power should your next vacuum cleaner have

Our society seems to be on the hunt for everything that’s faster and stronger, and we’ve been telling ourselves these two features are always worth investing in. But should we pause for a second and really consider their advantages in everyday objects and tools, maybe we would discover that we don’t really have use for too high a performance.

An interminable discussion on forums and manufacturer’s websites regards the suction power of vacuum cleaners and we just want to make a few points.


When you’re choosing a new vacuum cleaner, you are taking into consideration the type of surfaces you are going to need cleaned. This is also a factor in deciding the amount of suction power you will be needing. An area covered with carpets will require a stronger air flow in order to break the resistance of the carpet threads, whereas a small, wooden or tiled floor will be okay with a medium and even low suction power. The size of your space matters as well, and while a canister with a high suction power will work for large areas, you can confidently use an upright with medium power on smaller areas, such as a two-rooms apartment or a small office space.

Generally, canister vacuum cleaners are known to have more suction power than an upright model, but it all depends on the type of surface you have – the upright model usually has a rotating brushroll that shakes the carpet threads, allowing the vacuum to collect more, even if its suction power isn’t maximized.


When you’re shopping for vacuum cleaners, the best way to assess their suction power is to look at their CFM number, which represents their airflow capacity, telling you the number of cubic feet of air that the machine will suck in 1 minute. As a reference point, you should know that the standard vacuum will have between 50 CFM and 100 CFM.

However, this measurement isn’t always listed by the manufacturer, but you can look for the number of air watts (AW) which can give you an accurate idea. This measurements tells you the number of watts that the vacuum consumes in order to suck a unit of air through the nozzle. While an upright vacuum can be very efficient for pet hair because of his 180-200 AW, a canister will need to have more, since it also has the job of pulling the air through the hose. Therefore, you should look for one with at least 300 AW.